Synlait chief executive Leon Clement still hopes to open the company’s new Pokeno milk powder plant on time.
National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar says the subsidies will hurt Australian farmers already suffering from crippling drought.
“Australian farmers are amongst the least subsidised in the world which means our agriculture exports are particularly vulnerable to increased government assistance in competitor nations.”
Mahar says the extra subsidies are particularly disappointing given that Australian farmers, especially in Queensland and NSW, are battling a massive drought.
The US will subsidise farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures; farmers growing soybeans, sorghum and wheat will get the most aid.
Trump’s promise of aid follows fierce criticism from farmers, important to his support base. The US Department of Agriculture estimates the trade war is costing US farmers about US$11 billion.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said the USDA will act to assist farmers facing trade damage from “unjustified retaliation”.